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Alabama Homes

The log house, so typical of a frontier community, was not an ephemeral thing. It remained the standard of domestic architecture in the more isolated sections and was sometimes adhered to from inertia or sentimental reasons by men who could easily have afforded more modern quarters. It was not long, however, before the average planter replaced his log structure with one of boards. The typical Southern "mansion house," with its generous veranda and stately white columns, arose throughout the cotton region. Hodgson, on entering the Montgomery district in 1820, was impressed by the fine appearance of the plantations, and Saxe-Weimar, traversing the same ground six years later, not only speaks in general terms, but comments upon the handsome dwellings.

In general appearance, the homes of the Southwestern planters resembled those of the Virginia colonists. They were white, two-storied buildings of classical proportions, with broad verandas and gigantic columns. But a different spirit showed itself in plan and execution. Instead of a wellknit structure with architectural finish, there was a rambling house with a suggestion of unnecessary space. The difference, it would seem, was due primarily to the shaping influence of the log cabin. The simple cabin, consisting of two rooms joined by a wide passage-way, having only a floor below and a roof above, accustomed the pioneer to architecture embodying generous open-air passages. The planter started his new career in such a house, but sometimes amplified it into a dwelling of from four to eight rooms, keeping to the same materials and method of construction throughout. Finally, when he came to put up his frame house, he followed the old lines of internal arrangement. Crossing the veranda with its
tall columns, one entered a spacious hallway which served no particular purpose, but merely carried out the idea of the open passage between the rooms of the log cabin. The spacious rooms which flanked the hall on either side were almost invariably square and regular in design, just as they must have been had they been built of logs. And the plan upstairs was the same as below
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